IIASA demographer Guillaume Marois presents in a webinar organized by Shanghai University a new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences  that suggests declining birth rates and an aging population might not hinder future prosperity when associated with better education of the young.

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China’s low fertility is often presented as a major factor which will hinder its prosperity in the medium to long term. This is based on the assumed negative consequences of an increasing old-age dependency ratio: a simplistic measure of relative changing age structures. Based on this view, policies to increase fertility are being proposed after decades of birth restriction policies. Here, we argue that a purely age structure–based reasoning which disregards labor force participation and education attainment may be highly misleading. While fertility has indeed fallen to low levels, human capital accumulation has been very strong—especially among younger cohorts. Factoring in the effects of labor force participation and educational attainment on productivity, a measure called “productivity-weighted labor force dependency ratio” can more accurately capture the economic implications of demographic change. When using this ratio, a much more optimistic picture of the economic (and social) future of China can be envisaged. (Marois G, Gietel-Basten S, Lutz W. (2021). China's low fertility may not hinder future prosperity. Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2108900118


Webinar Details


Topic: China’s low fertility may not hinder future prosperity

Date: Beijing Time 20:00 ( GMT +8) on Oct 21, 2021

Zoom ID & Passcode: 82952159548 (passcode 900522)


About Speaker:

Dr. Marois is a research scholar in the Multidimensional Demographic Modeling Research Group at the Population and Just Societies Program and a distinguished professor at  the Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI). He completed his PhD in demography at the National Institute for Scientific Research (Montreal). His main research interests include demographic projections, microsimulation, human capital, labor force participation, immigration and internal mobility.


About ADRI

Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI) at Shanghai University focuses on multiscale comparative analysis of Asian population dynamics and its socioeconomic and environmental implications across Asian countries and subregions. It was first established in 2015. Building on the methods of multi-dimensional demography, ADRI studies population dynamics by age, gender, education, household status, health condition, rural/urban residence, and spatial distributions.